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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I added my 2 cents recently to a review and didn't qualify my statements - "it all sucks". Mcv10 asked a good question - did I see these issues during a test drive? - No, I did not have that opportunity. The unit was picked up as a replacement for my 2005 Grand Caravan sxt - which I loved every bit. Extremely comfortable, cruised beautifully and loads of room for everything. Enough about that. I would like to share my observations about the Nitro.

Probably everyone knows by now that the heater does not work well.It seems to make a lot of noise and blows very little air especially to the drivers feet.

Yes there are tranmission/drivetrain issues. I've had mine flashed which helped a bit but the vibration and groan are still there and there is a "flat" spot on the accelerator when trying to pick up under light load when driving at city speeds. I also have a steady vibration on the highway ( already switched tires ). The dealer is going to look at this if I ever get the chance to get back in.

The wind noise from the windshield on the highway is at times - deafening.
Depends on the direction of course.

The ABS scared the he** out of me the day I picked the unit up. (I'll prequalify the next bit before anyone judges my driving abiltiy. I have been driving for 33 years and on the road for the last 18 and have never come this close to ditching. My Caravan had abs but it never reacted so poorly )
There was a little snow and it was slippery. The unit had the factory tires which looked like they would be good in at least light snow but I was wrong.
I was travelling on a city street at speed and had about 3 car lenghts when I had to stop but I just couldn't due to the ABS. It just let the wheels keep turning because of the little bit of snow on the road. It just kept going and going like the commercial says. I had to put the right front wheel off the pavement so I wouldn't rear-end the next car. I put $1000 worth of snow tires on but it still scares me. My wife's Hyundai doe not have abs and you can count on it to stop.

The ESP is another hazard and insult. I discovered it takes power from the wheels and applies the brakes as it seems fit to drive the vehicle for you.
Too bad it was when I was pulling from an intersection with oncoming traffic that it decided to bog the engine as the rear wheels slipped a bit. I now drive with the esp OFF at all times. If I'm going to get "T-Boned", I want it to be my mistake.

The high beam headlights don't cast the light properly, it seems to get darker when their on.

The missing trans dipstick is explained that they have to compare the fluid level on the dealer dipstick with the dealer temperature scanner to ensure an accurate level. In my opinion, it's just a way to get you in the door. I do my own service as I don't have the time to waste at the dealer for minor maintenance.

For the adventurous type only - I wondered how the brakes would work without the abs so I pulled a fuse and took it on to the clear quiet highway.
That's how real brakes work. I can't go in to details but the overall performance was greatly improved without abs/esp/blah,blah,blah.
This does cause the engine light to come on but the code clears after a few restarts when everything is put back to "normal"

I don't have any more time but I hope things get better for Chrysler because they have had some very fine products. The Nitro is not one of them.


790 Posts
Hey Bernie,
Pretty blanket statement there. I believe it's pretty safe to say that your Nitro is a lemon. There are a few other owners who have not seen any of the problems you have, myself included.
Sorry to hear about them. Hope you have some luck getting it resolved.

1,032 Posts
Bernie, You do have some problems that definitely deserve concern. The tires are an issue of long standing on my 9th. dodge & its out of the dealers lot to the tire store for new shoes every time.I myself switched the head lites over to silverstars big improvement. I don't like the dipstick being gone either. So far I've not had any of the other problems you have encountered & I share the hope you can get them all resolved or get the Nitro replaced.:beerchug:

72 Posts
Wow, it does sound like you have a lemon.
  • As far as the heater the one in my Nitro works great it does get quite hot pretty fast that I turn it off quite often.
  • I haven't had a problem with the transmission yet. 3,100 miles/3 months ownership
  • No wind noise it's actually pretty quite even at 95mph :eek:
  • The ABS I would rate at the top it works real good, as I had a chance to test them on dry and wet pavement.
  • ESP, I am a little on your side. It is a good idea and works great in snow, rain, and dirt but it is very sensitive and activates at bad times. I have just learned to use it meaning I turn off and on when I have to, but I do have it on most of the time.
  • The highbeams are bad and it does seem like the low beams are brighter, Don't like that. I replaced mine with some Luminics bulbs.
  • The dipstick is a pretty dumb idea by Chrysler.

Talk to your dealer and if they don't help you find a lemon law lawyer.
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